Day 304: That’s No Pumpkin

A Hallowe’en-themed Sole Of Sci-Fi with suitable orange Nikes…

October 31 main b

So, warmest Hallowe’en on record in the UK. I mean, blimey, look at that sun! Hang on. That’s no sun, that’s a Death Star pumpkin to match the orange Nike Flyknits. The location is some wonderfully spooky ruins  of an old railway station on the Bath to Bristol cycle path. Or it’s usually wonderfully spooky. On this particularily balmy Autumn day it looked quite pretty in the sun, so I’ve had to do some subtle Photoshopping to try to make it look a bit bleaker and more Hallowe’eny.

I can now reveal that I was on-set for Da Vinci’s Demons season three yesterday, and met Doctor Who’s Robin Hood Tom Riley, who plays Leo. I’m NDAed to the eyeballs (NDA means non-disclosure agreement in case you didn’t know) so I can’t go into any details about what I saw, but I don’t think the production team will mind me saying that I was totally bowled over by some of the sets we were shown. They were the most impressive sets I have ever seen for a TV show.

The production designer on the show is Ed Thomas who worked on the Eccleston and Tennant eras of Doctor Who, and he’s created a whole new world in a massive studio complex just outside Swansea. Almost literally. As we were shown around, we walked from Florence to Peru in a few steps. The attention to details was – I’m not exaggerating – on the level of a blockbuster movie. One set even smelt right (I bet that’s got you intrigued.) A member of the art department, Dan, revealed that they call the design style “Renaissance Punk”.

I can honestly say, there was a real feeling of the whole production having a spring in its step. There’s a new showrunner, John Shiban of The X-Files and Breaking Bad fame, and he seems to have re-energised everybody. And while I can reveal no specifics, I think if you’ve tried Da Vinci’s Demons before and been a little non-plussed about it, then season three may be the time to give it another go.

Personally I’m fond of the show, though season two had some serious issues; it was a bizarre mix of the Borgias-type intrigue and skullduggery in Italy – which was great – and Leo off on the New World having Indiana Jones-style adventures – which wasn’t. It was an odd choice to remove the show’s star from the main action. There conceit that Leo can whip up revolutionary new inventions overnight became a bit tedious as well (he may as well have had a sonic screwdriver to get him out of any situation), and a couple of the predominantly Peruvian episodes were a little dull.

But the acting and production design has always been phenomenal. The Game Of Thrones style politicking makes for engrossing viewing. And there were some pulse-pounding battle scenes. It’s always been a show with promise and it looks like it may soon deliver on that promise. Could we in another Star Trek: The Next Generation season three scenario?

Maybe I’m just too naturally optimistic, but I hope so.

See you tomorrow!

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